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Family and football: Brentford Women’s unique history and hunger for more

Brentford Women head to the Gtech Community Stadium on Sunday for the second time in the team’s history to face Ashmount Leigh. After a slow start to the season, they go into the game on an eight-game winning streak. The Bees sit fifth in the London South East Division One North table with 25 points. However, they have five games in hand on league leaders Sport London E Benfica who sit on 41 points. 

The game is perhaps a foreshadowing of where Brentford Women have their sights set as the tier six side hosts at the Gtech the same weekend every WSL side with a Premier League counterpart, barring West Ham, does the same. 

General manager Amy Crook said playing in the Premier League side’s stadium is “built into our strategic plan. And we want to have a game there every season.”

Their first time out at the Gtech saw a record crowd for a sixth-tier women’s side in England with 5,116 in attendance. The Bees hope to break this attendance record again on Sunday – and hopefully give the fans a similarly favourable result to that 4-2 win.

When reflecting on Amy’s favourite memories with the club, that November 13, 2022 game was at the top of her list. 

“That was a dream come true. Even for the players to play, for me to watch, the coaching staff, and the fans.” 

She pauses before emphasising, “It was an incredible, historic moment. I’d love to bottle [that feeling].”


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Back to the beginning

Amy and her father, Roger Crook, started the women’s team in 1990 so a 14-year-old Amy could play football. Since then, Amy’s gone from player to manager and is now the general manager and welfare officer. Roger has similarly been along for the entire journey and is currently the club secretary. 

Roger (middle) and Amy (right) Crook watching from the sideline | Photo courtesy of Amy Crook

Amy’s pride is obvious as she reflected on her 30-plus years with the team. The last three years, in particular, have seen the professionalism, opportunities, and ambition within the team skyrocket.

The cause of these changes? An official partnership with Brentford Football Club. Despite using the namesake since its 1990 beginnings, the official link-up only occurred three years ago.

The original discussions with Brentford focused on ensuring the team grew organically while supporting the players both on and off the field. A measured plan to achieve greater success and ensure club sustainability was seen as the best path forward.

Amy smiles when saying, “They’ve [Brentford Football Club] put funding, which has been absolutely brilliant and the support’s just excellent. I can’t say much more than that because it’s just been brilliant to see it flourish from what it was back 30 years ago to now.”

Now with the funding to ensure Brentford Women are here for years to come, the team can focus on the most important thing – performing on the pitch. 

Progress before that turning point was much slower – and sometimes painful. For years, the players were responsible for promoting the team, washing their own kits, and acquiring equipment, while also dealing with the mental and emotional toll of being women in a male-dominated sport.

Photo courtesy of Amy Crook

Amy reflected, “To get a writer, you had to write to the sports editor at the Middlesex Chronicle or The Informer, you know. No one came down. So that’s how we promoted it.

“You had to find sponsors, you had to make sure we turned up in kit or tried to get that sponsor. So they were the biggest challenges, really. And also being females.

“So it was just trying to, I suppose, educate back then, which was very difficult because you got a lot of abuse.”

All focus on promotion

Now that players are no longer responsible for these off-field duties, all focus is on promotion. The goal? Eventually reaching the pinnacle of English Women’s Football — the WSL.

Amy said, “Getting promoted is our absolute must for the first team.”

This will be no easy feat, as only one team achieves promotion out of the London South East Division One North each season. Last season, they fell just one place and four points short. 

Amy’s love for the team is clear and infectious. Because of this, she brings a very holistic approach to her role as General Manager. It’s not just success on the pitch to her, it’s also about providing the best environment for players to succeed off of it.

Amy and goalkeeping coach, Cameron Crook, overseeing practice | 17 January 2024

Her goals? “[Supporting] these players through strengthening their selves, through well-being to making them strong, making them elite players. 

“And just giving them the best opportunity in their football career.”

With all the highs and lows over the past three decades, Amy has prioritised taking time to reflect. 

“Looking back for me, I always say this, it’s patience and hard work. I do reflect a lot so I’m proud of what I’ve done.”

“And there’s always more room to do more.”



  • Julia Andersen

    Julia Andersen is an American living in London. Previously a health research coordinator with a master’s in public health (MPH), she is interested in the intersection of health, research, and sport. A Liverpool fan who regretfully named her dog Henderson, she also closely follows golf, baseball, and tennis.